June is here and so are no-cook and lighter recipes with pizazz. While I do love the four seasons of Tahoe, summer in the kitchen can be hot. I find myself turning to cold salads with vegetables. Salads don’t have to be boring rabbit food. One of my favorite dishes is the tostada minus beans. This time around, I’m giving a Mexican tostada salad a twist from the Mediterranean for a sentimental reason (or two).
Lately, I’ve been experiencing the European-linked dream that I’ve had hundreds of times. I find myself back in San Carlos on the San Francisco Bay Area peninsula in a Mediterranean-style bungalow. The landlord, an 80-something woman with European roots, was my best friend; I was her confidante-restaurant buddy. One night at our Italian restaurant of choice, I ordered my black tea (as folks in Ireland do), and nibbled on French bread dipped in olive oil (like Italians do). The entrée was a shrimp salad that I munched on as I listened to tales of her European romantic travels as a harpist. It was her gift of storytelling and secrets — and after dinner purchasing a much-needed computer and printer for me and my budding writing career that made this dinner unforgettable and left me longing to visit Europe.
So it’s no surprise that my last book tour took me back to San Carlos. Sadly, the eatery was closed. The 14 bungalows (once filled with European tenants) were replaced by a condo building. My friend, almost 100, had passed. I returned to Lake Tahoe with bittersweet thoughts knowing she was a link to me being an author of a book series based on a European diet and lifestyle.
2 large flour tortillas
Extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper and sea salt to taste
1 ½ cups organic mixed baby greens, washed
½ cup tomatoes, sliced
1/8 cup red onion, diced
½ cup feta, crumbled or provolone cheese, shredded
½ cup black olives. sliced
6 ounces albacore tuna or cooked shrimp
Extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar with pepper to taste
Lime or lemon (for garnish)
Place tortillas snug on top of an upside down cupcake tin. Brush lightly with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for several minutes till golden brown. Remove shaped tortilla “bowls” from oven, set aside. In a large bowl. combine lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cheese, olives and fish. Drizzle oil and vinegar, pepper on top, mix. Place salad mixture in tostadas and plate. Garnish with citrus slices. Serves two. (Double recipe for four.)
This colorful salad is fail proof. The tostada shells are rustic looking and delicious when warm. Break fresh French bread or slice it and dip in warm olive oil or pats of European style butter. Herbal tea (hot or iced) completes the meal. For dessert, dish up seasonal sweet blueberries (they’re priced right now!) and a dollop of real whipped cream. This pre-summer meal was a treat because on Monday I renewed my passport so I can get my first taste of the Mediterranean this season.
Motto: Feed your soul and spirit. Live and eat each day as though it’s your last day on Earth because we all have expiration dates.
Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. Her website is www.calorey.com.